There was a lot in the literary world to be excited about this year: Harper Lee’s much awaited sequel, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in ten years, and Haruki Murakami making an appearance in New Zealand to name a few.
But as the year progressed there were a few unexpected reasons to take note, too. NZ’s first banned book in decades for example, though Ted Dawe’s Into The River had its ban removed just as quickly.
Then a Kiwi was longlisted for the Man Booker – congrats Anna Smail! The Chimes is a fantastic book – a shame it didn’t progress to the shortlist.
Further good news abounded when the the NZ Book awards was reinstated, complete with a new sponsor and prominence at next year’s Auckland Writer’s Festival. It was this, and NZ Book Month May which trended highly on Twitter, which has encouraged us to create a focus on NZ Lit next year 🙂
So, with all this and our own fabulous reading schedule to mull over, the freerangers met at Harry’s Bar in Nelson to ponder and discuss. There were a few common thoughts – Ruth from The Colour Of Water was a saint, Go Set A Watchman was a disappointment and Georges Simenon was the most interesting author. Here’s the rest of our musings (warning spoiler alert):
Book of the year:
Rachel: Sydney Bridge Upside Down
Jo: Sydney Bridge Upside Down
Sophia: Sydney Bridge Upside Down
Becks: Sydney Bridge Upside Down
Sonya: The Buried Giant
Rachel: The Train
Jo: Ethan Frome
Sophia: The Colour Of Water
Becks: Ethan Frome
Sonya: The Train
Jo: From The Age of Innocence: “Society people fear scandal more than disease.”
Becks: From Dorian Gray: “To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”
Most shocking moment: (spoiler alert!)
Rachel: Atticus is a racist
Jo: Harry is a psycho
Sophia: The slaying of the dragon
Becks: Harry slept with Caroline in the slaughterhouse & Dorian killed Basil
Sonya: Sophie’s world is not real